It has been shown that adaptogenic herbs help the body maintain homeostasis by affecting the central nervous system (CNS)and balancing hormones to target stress, fatigue, and build immunity. In many studies adaptogenic herbs have been shown to reduce the stress hormone (Coritsol). Many of us are in constant fight or flight mode releasing too much cortisol throughout the day. High levels of cortisol can have damaging affects on our health.
Symptoms of High cortisol levels
high blood pressure.
a flushed face.
urinating more frequently.
changes in mood, such as feeling irritable or low.
rapid weight gain in the face and abdomen.
Of course finding other ways to balance stress and cortisol are highly recommended like exercise, meditation, nutrition, and sleep. But if you are trying all of these out and still not getting that reduction in fight or flight mode, here are the top Adaptogenic Herbs I recommend:
Ashwangandha: Reduces Stress, Builds Immunity. In many trials, Ashwangandha has show to lower cortisol levels in the body (the stress hormone) and increase immunity by increasing immunoglobulin function. Some people also use ashwagandha for improving thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), and preventing the effects of aging. It is also used for fertility problems in men and women as well to increase sexual desire. To date, there are over 200 studies and research trials on all the benefits of Ashwangandha.
Rhodiola: Like many adaptogens, Rhodiola was historically used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is known for its ability to reduce stress and improve physical endurance. Rhodiola improved fatigue, mental performance, and concentration, while it decreased the cortisol response to stress. One study investigated the effects of rhodiola extract in 101 people with life- and work-related stress. Participants were given 400 mg per day for four weeks (3). It found significant improvements in symptoms of stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion and anxiety, after just three days. These improvements continued throughout the study.
Rhodiola has also been shown to improve symptoms of burnout, which can occur with chronic stress.
Ren Shen (Panax Ginseng): Among the adaptogenic herbs, ginseng may well be one of the most widely used to improve energy and general health. I have a post coming up on all the wonderful benefits of Ginseng.
Lion’s Mane: King of neuro-protective mushrooms and I believe it should be a regular adaptogen for anyone struggling with brain fog or memory loss. Nerve Growth Factors (NGFs) found in this mushroom have the ability to regenerate and protect brain tissue. So far, about a dozen studies have been published on the neuroregenerative properties of lion’s mane.
Turkey tail: Contains two powerful polysaccharides called PSP and PSK (aka Kreskin) Researchers found that a daily dose of turkey tail improved immune function in women with stage I to III breast cancer. PSP has also been shown to significantly enhance immune status in up to 97 percent of cancer patients studied.
Cordyceps: A bronchodilator, hormone balancer, and increases levels of energy and endurance. Cordyceps are thought to increase the body’s production of the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is essential for delivering energy to the muscles. This may improve the way your body uses oxygen, especially during exercise (1, 2). In one study, researchers tested their effects on exercise capacity in 30 healthy older adults using a stationary bike. Participants received either 3 grams per day of a synthetic strain of Cordyceps called CS-4 or a placebo pill for six weeks. By the end of the study, VO2 max had increased by 7% in participants who had taken CS-4, while participants given the placebo pill showed no change .
Reishi mushroom enhances the immune system, reduce stress, improve sleep, and lessen fatigue. Reishi mushroom contains chemicals that seem to have a variety of potentially beneficial effects, including activity against tumors (cancer) and beneficial effects on the immune system. One of the most important effects of the Reishi mushroom is that it can boost your immune system (4). Studies have shown that Reishi can affect the genes in white blood cells, which are critical parts of your immune system.
So if you are stressed out, feeling fatigued, anxious, and overworked; think about adding in some adaptogens to your diet. They are easily accessible through my dispensary, or feel free to reach out to me for individualized consultations.